NY priest apologizes for saying priests seduced by kids, 1st offense shouldn’t mean jail time
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, August 30, 7:55 PM
NEW YORK — A New York priest has apologized after coming under criticism from church officials and advocates of sex abuse victims for saying that priests accused of child sex abuse are often seduced by their accusers and that a first-time offender should not go to jail.
The Rev. Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal made the comments in an interview with the National Catholic Register published this week. The website for the conservative independent Register then removed the story and posted an apology for publishing the comments. Groeschel and the friars did as well.
Asked about working with priests involved in abuse, Groeschel said, “Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.” …
Editor in Chief Jeanette De Melo posted a note apologizing for “publishing without clarification or challenge Father Benedict Groeschel’s comments that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our publication of that comment was an editorial mistake, for which we sincerely apologize.”
Groeschel also posted an apology to the site. “I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone,” he said.
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